August 10, 2022 at 3:53 pm

This Startup Is Trying to Make Steaks Out of Carbon Dioxide

by Matthew Gilligan

A company called Air Protein is attempting to do what would have sounded like something out of a science-fiction film just a few years ago: to make meat out of carbon dioxide.

Lisa Dyson and John Reed were working at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab when they decided that they wanted to find a solution to help combat climate change through the food we eat.

A lot of people don’t know that 25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and that meat is the agriculture sector that produces the most out of all of them.

Dyson and Reed found a NASA research document from 1967 that talked about how astronauts on long journeys could be fed. An idea in the document was to combine the carbon dioxide that the astronauts exhaled with microbes to make food. So Dyson and Reed decided to pick up where NASA left off and founded a company called Kiverdi in 2008.

In 2019, the pair created the startup Air Protein which is trying to literally make meat out of thin air. The company puts microbes inside fermentation tanks and gives them carbon dioxide, oxygen, minerals, water, and nitrogen. This results in a protein-rich flour that has a similar amino acid profile as the protein found in meat.

And the whole process is good for the environment: carbon dioxide is harnessed to make the product and the process uses much less land and water than beef production.

Dyson said, “We’re trying to redefine how meat is made. I’m excited to be a part of that movement.”

We’ll have to keep an eye on Air Protein to see how this project develops…it could be the wave of the future!


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